Liberal moderates in NSW stand up over RET review

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NSW Stands up for solar. Go Blues!

Will clean energy be the blade that slices apart the ruling Coalition party? Will the fossil-fuel-stacked renewable energy target review panel fall on its dark arts? This week saw the potential for a factional clash of almighty proportions with the NSW government announcing their full support for the renewable energy target (RET) of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.

This is significant at a time when the feds’ renewable energy target review panel (stacked with cronies, cringers, climate change deniers and solar narks) is lumbering towards an expected conclusion to water down (or ditch) the target. Indeed the NSW-led revolt is more than just a disagreement within the Liberal party on a single (though major) renewables issue. It could completely change the political debate around clean energy in conservative ranks.

You could hardly call Mike Baird a tied-dyed, treehugger. He has a long history as a noted centrist in NSW and was accepted by both left and right factions after his malleable predecessor Barry O’Farrell resigned recently. Bazza exited stage right after “forgetting” he’d quaffed a gift of a bottle of wine from a lobbyist. His forgetfulness over the wine was as bad as his recent cave-in on the NSW feed-in tariff and sucking up to the big energy companies.

Big Bad Barry also “forget” to put in a submission to the last RET review two years, despite billions of dollars worth of investment and hundreds of NSW jobs on the line. So no loss there for the renewable energy sector.

Bairdy though, may well be different (early days I know). At least he’s impressed so far on the RET.

He appears to be one who (shock, horror) listens to the people, rather than the factions. The key question now is: Could the emergence of the Baird moderates in NSW shift the debate within the Liberal party (federal and states) towards support for the immensely popular clean energy? Where will other Coalition states stand on this issue now that NSW (for once) has taken the lead?

But perhaps one of the major implications of this clash may well be to mobilise federal moderate MPs against any move to gut the RET. With extremist PM Tony Abbott’s popularity currently lower than a fat snake’s belly, and the new Senate-elect making bellicose noises against Budget 2014, the Liberal moderates’ chance to flex their muscle has arrived.

And the stage has been set by Bairdy’s bunch of NSW pro-clean energy Blues.

Maybe its time to watch out for noted moderates (and clean energy supporters) such as Malcolm Turnbull to play more of a role on determining renewable energy policy in the federal Liberal party room? The popular and pro-renewables frontbencher and former leader of the party — who has been currently shunted out to the wastelands of the Ministry of Communications — remains an important rallying point for pro-clean energy moderates.

A great deal will depend on the strategy of Big Mal, when to make the break, when to attack etc. Mal’s also from NSW and comes from the same general moderate persuasion as the NSW premier, which begs the question: Was he forewarned about the move to support the RET?

The federal moderates have been in disarray in recent years as the party charges further into the waiting arms of the fossil fuel lobby by almost completely abandoning abandoning clean energy. Even Johnny Howard supported a form of carbon tax for god’s sake!

But the extremists have had their way for far too long. The stoush between NSW and the feds over the renewable energy target review may well be the catalyst that draws out moderate MPs against the knuckle dragging, anti-renewable extremists. The chasm that may now form will be matched in width only by the smiles of the collective renewable energy industry, who have been less than well supported in conservative ranks in recent years. The Baird revolution just may change the course of political debate over renewable energy in this country.


  1. Yes Minister says

    Dunno about Baird as I’m not a mexican, however I’m sceptical about Turnbull due to his neanderthal attitude toward the NBN. Personally I believe the LNP generally has lost the plot. For the benefit of the peanut gallery, my ancestry has been dedicated conservative for centuries however the likes of the Wacky Wabbott & Noddy Newman have cured me of that, probably forever.

    • Rich Bowden says

      Thanks for the input Yes Minister. Yes I think your point about Turnbull is a fair one, he has dragged his feet on the NBN. However he has demonstrated more of a committment to dealing with climate change with support for renewables one arm of his apparent strategy. He is a politician first and foremost though and will only move if he feels he has the support of the people and significant sections of the party. Perhaps Baird’s move will embolden him? Perhaps other Lib moderates will stick their heads out over the barricades (a risky business yes).

  2. Brice Baird? Did you mean Mike? Also, I’m not sure you would call a person who says their political career is “serving Jesus” would be described as a centrist.

  3. Rich Bowden says

    Showing my age sorry. Bruce was his Dad.

  4. Never get between a politician and a pile of votes. Will be interesting to see where this ends up, unlike in Qld where the troglodytes are well and truly in charge.

    • Yes Minister says

      Why do you believe Noddy Newman & Mark McArdle have evolved to troglodyte level ?? Personally I wouldn’t have attributed anything like troglodyte intelligence to either, in fact I doubt there is a sign of intelligent life to be found in either of those clowns.

      • OK, how about trilobite then? They just don’t seem to be interested in solar technologies though.

        • Yes Minister says

          Even attributing trilobite status to the present tribe of LNP parasites would be pushing the boundaries, personally I consider politicians generally are some kind of malicious virus. The fact that many are failed lawyers certainly doesn’t do much for their status. I don’t think its so much that they aren’t ‘interested’ in solar technologies, rather they see anything ‘alternative’ as demonic in that it threatens the profitability of business ventures belonging to the big end of town. Note that its not only solar thats unpalatable, remember the comment a few months ago from one of the Canberra based bottom-feeders about ‘unsightly’ wind farms.

          • OK, how about protozoan then? Just got an answer from the QCA about power pricing. It seems to me that the QCA is more of a price increase justification organization, rather than one that is supposed to help lower the cost of goods and services by increasing competition in the market. If companies like Origin Energy are so hard up that they need large price increases, lets have a look at its share price and the wage increases that they give to their workers. I was a shareholder in this mob!

          • Yes Minister says

            Agree totally with the QCA, but then thats nothing for an ostensibly ‘independent’ QANGO. Consider the ‘independent’ parliamentary renumeration tribunal composed wholly of politician friendly drones. I’d dearly love to belt Noddy et al around the lugholes with a lump of 4 x 2 until they admit their financial interest in Origin / AGL etc.

    • Rich Bowden says

      So no sign of any moderate movement against the govt’s slash and burn renewables policy Roddo?

      • Yes Minister says

        Given that the only hard copy media in the deep north is Murdoch controlled, the long history of fluoride sedation & the focus on footbrawl / thugby, its hardly surprizing the rednecked sheeple have negative interest in trivial matters like politics / cost of living.

      • Well, at least the pensioners got them to back down over concession cuts. Angry old people who vote seemed to have scared them a bit. Stafford by-election should be the next interesting episode.

        • Yes Minister says

          Yes indeed. Grossly overfed politicians like Knuckles on $6000 per week haven’t a clue about the challenges faced by pensioners on $400 per week. Furthermore its blatantly obvious the political circus generally doesn’t realize the extent of the angst among wrinklies or even the number of previously conservative voters who are eagerly waiting with baseball bats at the ready to exact retribution on Newman et al. Stafford certainly promises to be ‘interesting’. Like Redcliffe it was traditionally an ALP seat and will almost certainly return to ALP since the candidate looks good & as far as I’m aware there are no other significant contenders.

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